Several streets on the south side of Syracuse were blocked off early Monday morning because of a standoff involving members of the Police Department's SWAT team.
The incident began around 11:45 p.m. Sunday at 143 West Matson Avenue, between Midland Street and South Salina Street. Onondaga County 911 says police were originally called to the residence for a report of a home invasion and robbery.
Syracuse Police spokesman Sgt. Tom Connellan says a neighbor saw one of the home's female residents being accosted by one of the alleged suspects. The neighbor says the suspects took the woman inside the house, where she was able to call for help. When police arrived on the scene the suspects ran into the house, but the victim was able to get away.
Police believed the suspects were armed, so they set up a perimeter and called in the SWAT team. The SWAT team brought in hostage negotiators, who werenâ??t sure exactly what they were dealing with as far as how many people were in the house or if any weapons were involved.
Connellan says negotiators used a bullhorn to shout instructions to the suspects inside the home. When that failed, several rounds of tear gas were fired into the house over the course of an hour and a half.
CNY Central reporter Brandon Roth, who was reporting at the scene, says he heard two separate occurrences of loud popping noises coming from the area of the standoff, which turned out to be the canisters of tear gas being fired into the house.
Over the course of the next two hours, four suspects came out of the house. Police determined the house was clear around 8:00 a.m.
A four to five block portion of South Salina Street near West Ostrander Avenue was blocked off for several hours while police surrounded the home.
Connellan says reporters were kept away from the scene for their safety as well as the safety of police personnel, whose presence could have been tipped off by live news reports.
Police say their investigation into the incident is ongoing. They do not know if the four men brought out of the home constitute all of the suspects involved in the incident.